From 8 to 13 May 2017, 16 committed penguin lovers walked more than 130km from Gansbaai to Boulders Beach, Simon's Town. What was the goal of this meander? To raise awareness for the plight of the endangered African penguin. We hoped to inspire and encourage those we encountered along the way to make a "Penguin Promise" - a small lifestyle change that will make a big positive impact on the state of our oceans. Penguins are an indicator species, meaning that their decline is a result of damage to the entire ecosystem and that making changes that are good for penguins will be good for other animals too, including humans. This was the seventh annual Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week campaign, supported by the Two Oceans Aquarium and the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR).
Where did #Waddle2017 walk on Day 7?
Day 7 is the longest leg of the Waddle. It is a stretch that begins at Boulders Beach, and continues home - into our private lives and into our future.
But it is an easy leg, because we only need to carry one thing: our personal Penguin Promises.
Over six days, our waddlers walked over 127km - from Gansbaai to Simon's Town.
We asked for your hoots in support of the African penguin, and more than five-and-a-half thousand people gave us this support along the way.
Countless coummunity members, school children, fellow conservationists, radio stations, sponsors, ex-waddlers and even a sheep or two joined us on our journey - and made their own Penguin Promises along the way.
Incredible organisations made this Waddle a reality, and truly contibuted to the dream of a sustainable future. SAAMBR, Old Mutual Finance, SPAR Western Cape, De Kat Safaris, XXL Brands, APSS, SANCCOB, Saxon Lodge, Stanford Hills, Windsor Hotel, The Grail Centre, The Manor on The Bay, The Muize and Boulders Beach Lodge - thank you to each and every one of you.
Any now it's your turn to make a Penguin Promise, and preserve our precious oceans for the future (read more below).
Thank you South Africa for your support!
Our Waddlers Penguin Promises
Throughout this journey, our 16 Waddlers had the opportunity to think about meaningful changes they could make in their own lives. This is that they had to say:
Hayley McLellan – Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Campaigner
"Hi, my name is Hayley and my Penguin Promise is to reduce how much plastic I use in my life even more."
Gabby Harris – SAAMBR Animal Behaviour Management & Guest Experience
"My name is Gabby and my promise is to use more environmentally friendly beauty products, starting with crystal stick deodrant."
Renée Leeuwner – Two Oceans Aquarium Communications and Media Executive
"Hi, my name is Renée and my Penguin Promise is to start making my own natural cleaning and beauty products."
Devon Bowen - Two Oceans Aquarium Online Content Coordinator
"Hi I'm Devon and my Penguin Promise is to consult the SASSI List and ensure I eat only sustainable seafood."
Colette Bodenstaff – SAAMBR Communications
"Hi, my name is Colette and my Penguin Promise is to stop or avoid using single-use plastics, because they are not good for the environment."
Mbali Mtshali – SAAMBR Guest Relations Guide
"Hi, my name is Mbali and my promise is never to use plastic straws and to up-cycle all my plastic forks, spoons and knives."
Martin Reed – SAAMBR Assistant Dolphin Trainer
"Hello, my name is Martin and I promise to continue raising awareness for the African penguin."
Ramini Naidoo – SAAMBR ORI Administrative Officer
"Hi, my name's Ramini and my Penguin Promise is to take this expereince home with me and to encourage my family and friends to be good to the environment."
Martine Viljoen – Two Oceans Aquarium Volunteer
"Hi my name is Martine and my Penguin Promise is to continue saying no to single-use plastic straws and plastic bags and to start saying no to plastic coffee cups."
Siyambulela Mafunda – University of the Western Cape PhD student
"Hi everybody! My name is Siya and my Penguin Promise is to stop using plastic straws and to use my time to educate people about taking care of our environment."
Lisel Dryden – Old Mutual Finance Properties Department
"My name is Lisel and my promise is to not use plastic shopping bags any more, because it is so easy to do."
Katie Zenz – Two Oceans Aquarium Curatorial Intern
"Hi, my name's Katie and my Penguin Promise is to spend more of my free time raising awareness and working with animals to help protect our environment."
Frieda Geldenhuys – Stellenbosch University researcher
"Hi, I'm Frieda. My Penguin Promise is to inform more people about Penguin Promises, basically creating more environmental awareness."
Saskia van Geuns – environmentally passionate youth
"Hi I'm Saskia and my Penguin Promise is to inspire others to conserve our beautiful planet."
Alex Rogers – SANCCOB Education Assistant
"Hello my name is Alex and my Penguin Promise is to continue to educate the public on our environmental issues into the future."
Freddie Roets – De Kat Safaris Driver
"Hi, my name is Freddie and my Penguin Promise is to reduce the amount of meat I eat."
Making your own Penguin Promise
Throughout our waddle, we were all lucky enough to have had the chance to chat and reflect on ways we could make small changes in our lives that would collectively have a positive impact on our environment. With this insight, we made our own Penguin Promises.
We ask that our followers please consider what their own penguin promise could be and share their thoughts on social media using #penguinpromises or by logging it online. These promises can be as simple as saying no to drinking straws or reducing the meat we eat - if we all do something small it adds up.
Together we can make a real difference!